The Minister of Defense, USA, Dr. Robert Michael Gates, during his speech.
Photo Credit: Kai Mörk
PDP Co-Director Ashton B. Carter participates in Munich Conference on Security Policy
February 10, 2008
Author: Jeffrey Kim, Former Affiliate and Research Assistant, Preventative Defense Project, 2007-2008
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Preventive Defense Project
Munich, Germany – PDP Co-Director Ashton B. Carter participated in the 44th Munich Conference on Security Policy (also known as Wehrkunde), February 8-10, as a member of a Congressional Delegation led by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT).
The theme of this year’s conference was: "A World in Disarray – Shifting Powers – Lack of Strategies".
Dr. Carter met with top-level defense and foreign policy officials from around the world, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.
Other members of the delegation included Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA), Congressman Jim Marshall (D-GA), Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Congressman Chris Shays (R-CT), Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft.
PDP Senior Advisor and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General (ret.) James Jones also attended the conference.
Among the world leaders speaking at the conference were Serbian President Boris Tadiæ, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov, as well as the European Union’s High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei.
The topics of panel discussions ranged from the future of arms control to Russia’s role in European security, to NATO expansion and maintaining stability in Asia.
Secretary Gates delivered a major speech where he emphasized the importance of NATO’s mission in Afghanistan and the need for stronger coordination of non-military assistance to the government in Kabul. He reminded the audience of how the mission directly relates to NATO’s founding purpose of defending the transatlantic community and why the Alliance needs to continue in its transformation towards a more expeditionary force structure. He also took the opportunity to address the people of Europe and urged them to take heed of the expanding threat posed by terrorism and to view the fight in Afghanistan as crucial to meeting this wider challenge.
(The full text of Secretary Gates’ speech can be viewed here)
In an earlier speech at the conference, Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer had pointed to the need for NATO member states to contribute more personnel and equipment to the effort in Afghanistan. He also focused on resolving Europe’s “unfinished business” in the Balkans and the goal of ensuring lasting stability for Kosovo.
At a later forum Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ivanov warned against Kosovo’s impending declaration of independence from Serbia. Shifting then to a more conciliatory tone, Ivanov highlighted the importance of the relationship between Moscow and Washington, and also explained that a more prosperous Russia should not pose a threat to the rest of the world.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) had intended to lead the congressional delegation along with Senator Lieberman, but McCain decided to withdraw from participation in the Munich conference due to the need to remain with his ongoing Presidential campaign.
Complete information about the Munich Conference on Security Policy may be found on the conference's website.
For more information about this publication please contact the PDP Associate Director at 617-495-1412.
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